Augmented reality mural ArtPrize entry brings Michigan’s great outdoors to life

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Michigan’s great outdoors and Great Lakes come to life at your fingertips through an Augmented Reality (AR) mural commissioned for ArtPrize.

This year’s festival is the first time anyone will experience “Water, Winter, Wonderland,” which was created as a collaboration between Grand Rapids artist Elliot Chaltry and Brand XR, a “no-code augmented reality” studio based out of Detroit.

Local Grand Rapids artist Elliot Chaltry collaborates with Detroit-based Brand XR, an award-winning augmented reality studio for “Water, Winter, Wonderland,” an AR Mural.

The interactive AR mural has two parts— the physical mural created by Chaltry and the digital artwork created by Brand XR.

The physical artwork is made on a vinyl sheet, while the digital artwork includes elements like like 3D modeling, animations and coding.

Brand XR founder and CEO Mahmoud “Moody” Mattan says having both pieces is “the best of both worlds.”

“You can layer on the mural. By itself it’s beautiful and then we kind of take it to the next level by layering on this augmented reality experience,” Mattan said.

Here’s how it works— you scan a QR code that takes you directly to the specific Instagram experience. Then you scan the artwork and you’re able to interact with different pieces on the mural.

Mattan says it’s almost like playing a video game.

“The pieces that are in the mural, though, they’ll start to move and kind of come to life, and then you’ll be able to tap and interact with them. You’ll be able to view it all through your phone, and then the cool part is you can also like take videos and photos of the experience,” Mattan explained.

Elliot Chaltry Demonstrates how his AR Mural Comes to Life
Grand Rapids artist Elliot Chaltry demonstrates how his AR Mural comes to life.

Chaltry says he often works as a graphic designer or illustrator, but “there was a different mindset approaching this style of art.”

“A lot of things that they told me was like, ‘we want you to make your art the way it would be naturally, and then we’ll take it from there,'” Chaltry explained.

With “Water, Winter, Wonderland,” Chaltry and Mattan say the goal was to capture the essence of Michigan’s outdoors.

“It’s kind of a ode to the state of Michigan,” says Mattan, “so, it’s kind of going to be a scenic piece and it’s incorporating a lot of the things, you know, that we love about Michigan.”

The piece was installed Wednesday. You can see it at 2 Fulton Street West, which is the old UICA building, on the fourth floor.

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